Wednesday, March 16, 2011

british money...

Today's soundtrack:
"We Used to Wait" by Arcade Fire

... is crazypants. No, admit it. It really is. I would know. I come from a country with a currency not all that dissimilar to Monopoly money. We call our one dollar coin the loonie. Our 5¢ coin has a beaver. I know crazy money. And you, gentle Brit readers, you have crazy money.

Today I give you a Canadian's guide to British currency, beginning with the penny and the two pence, which for some reason isn't called two pennies. Also, why do you have 2p? Is the whole concept of having 1p not wasteful enough? Every country and their dog is trying to do away with pennies, yet for some reason you've found a way to make two kinds of redundant coins.

Anyway, here's what a penny looks like:

Innocent enough? But wait until you see what 2p looks like:

Well, that's a rather large jump in size. I expect, based on this, for sand-dollar sized nickels.. sorry, 5p.. to be in order. But no, the 5p is roughly the same size to the penny.

Which would be fine, were the 10p a practical size as well. But no, somebody at the mint hit the supersize button and we end up with this:

Okay, I think I've got it figured out. Small, large, small, large. I see the pattern. British money - sorted.

What the hell is that? No, seriously. What about 20p suggests heptagon?

See, now this is just getting ridiculous. I understood the whole small, big thing. I even understood the difference between the colours (brown for 1p and 2p, silver for 5p and 10p), but this polygon business is just getting silly. What's next - squares? Triangles?

Ah, even better. A £1 coin which is roughly the same size at 20p. Right. That shouldn't be confusing at all. I mean, it's not like the £2 coin and the 50p are the roughly the same size.

Well, crap.


  1. Points awarded for excellent use of the word "crazypants". Being a Lit major gives you a free pass to use language according to whim, but bonus points are awarded only for panache.

  2. I'd never thought about the size of our coins before - the colour has always been of more interest to me ;-)
    I agree it does seem pretty crazy - you should have seen what it was like when they made the 5p smaller and the 10p smaller and brought out pound coins instead of notes! Our heads were spinning fit to explode!

  3. I was told yesterday the jumps in size are by perceived cost of materials which I didn't know and found really interesting.

    So small to large bronze (1 p / 2p)


    small to large cupronickle (5 p / 10 p/ 20 p/ 25 p / 50 p)


    nickle-brass (1 pound / 2 pound)

  4. wait ya that doesn't work, it really is small large small large :)